The new Masters of Sex might as well have been called “I Love a Charade.” Rather than cutting Virginia out of the work, Bill’s punishment for her affair with Dan is a carefully choreographed, awkward dinner for four in New York, the other half of the party being Dan and his wife Alice (Judy Greer). Their arrangement, as Dan called it last week, is apparently not a mutually enjoyed one as her increasingly drunken sniping tells us.
Bill couldn’t have handed Alice a script to better alienate Virginia from Dan. All the things that she’s been drawn in by, all the things she knew she shouldn’t have bought into, are just as she first suspected – all part of the Dan Logan charm. The greatest insult of all is that Virginia, who is truly an extraordinary woman, is made to seem just like a dozen others. Or is she? The verbal chess game between Bill and Dan was everything I had hoped for in those two facing off – cocktails with their back and forth. And kudos to Virginia for enjoying the dinner on her own. Hopefully she still had an appetite. It would be terrible to make a decision about Dan and his suitcase on an empty stomach.
Judy Greer was given some nice material to work with that didn’t involve her normal gig of being the supportive best friend. She deserves more things like this that actually show of her acting talents. Her peppiness countered her bitterness in such an interesting way, making the character surprisingly well-developed for such limited screen time.
Meanwhile at the homestead, Libby and Paul are playing house while trying to not obviously play house in front of their kids. As much as this scenario with the kids getting along, Paul being “Pa,” and Libby glowing at their future together, I, like Libby, found the tone strange and foreboding. Something is amiss in happy pretend couple land. Here’s the thing: if Libby is still worried whether or not Bill cares that she is leaving, she is not ready to ride off into the sunset with Paul.
The evidence turns up a few scenes later when a police visit showed us just how bad things are about to get for Bill. I predicted that the police showing up was going to be related to Nora and her failed pass at Bill. How gut crunching that Bill’s attempt to help a confused boy would take such a dark twist. This has been foreshadowed since the beginning of the season, when Johnny lashed out at his father for a perceived inappropriate moment with Tessa. When I think of how many women get tasked for “the stand by your man” mentality, I appreciated the scene with Libby explaining to Paul just why she will do that.
Next week brings this season to a close and it looks like a doozy – jail, allegations, the future of the clinic and the book, and was that a ring on Virginia’s finger? Who put it there? Bill or Dan? Or maybe Virginia herself?
Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TMN (Canada) and Showtime (U.S.), as well as 10 p.m. MT/9 p.m PT on Movie Central (Western Canada).